Match Report -
Nicked the win
By Iain Benson
It is not unreasonable to say that Celtic didn't deserve the win, and that a draw would have been a fair result. But as with the Leigh game, the Northwich game, the Hednesford game, football isn't about fairness, and while we lament the ones that go against us, we should likewise celebrate those that go for us. A win, after all, is a win.

The game started slowly, with Celtic having the better of the possession, though there were a couple of wild shots from the visitors. However, when Garvey slid the ball between two static Motors defenders, Ellington latched onto it and went one-on-one with Harrison. There was only going to be one outcome, and Ellington put Celtic into the lead with a clinical strike in off the far post.

Vauxhall had to ride their luck over the next few minutes, with Harrison fumbling a corner that Glendenning hacked clear, and again Glendenning came to the rescue as Ellington curled a shot past Harrison and the Motor's defender headed narrowly over his own bar. Sykes really should have changed the face of the game when his header back to Ellington was intercepted with a hacking clearance from Brazier that left Harrison well out of position, and Sykes with the ball at his feet just inside the box, with the goal gaping, but his side footed shot was wide.

Celtic thus were unable to capitalise on their earlier goal, and Vauxhall slowly got back into it. A Barnard conceded corner was only narrowly over the bar with a looping header from Addo. However when Price slid through Cuminskey, Vauxhall got the goal they were looking for: a low free kick, Cuminskey stooped past Keeling and nodded the ball with the faintest of touches into the net.

Celtic could have gone down to ten men when Haran and Addo were involved in an altercation. The referee was lenient in showing Haran a yellow card only for his locking horns with Glendenning, who also got booked. From the resulting free kick, McNulty headed wide.

As the half came to a close, Celtic did start to get among Vauxhall again, with first Garvey sprinting past the defence and producing a good stop from Harrison, and then Wharton (on for the injured Barnard) brought down by Moogan. The free kick eventually fell to Sykes who tried twice to stab the ball towards goal, but both times saw his shot blocked, the rebound coming to Price, who shot wide.

The second half started a poor spectacle. Vauxhall were overly physical, and Celtic afraid of taking control. Thus, the first shot of the half came from Vauxhall, when Field's switch of play went straight to McNutt. Fortunately, the substitute's shot was poor. Pettinger was then called into action when Cuminskey knocked back a corner for Moogan whose header required an acrobatic stop from the Celtic keeper. Pettinger then had to block Cuminskey's shot off the corner, and Keeling hacked it clear.

Neither side looked willing to entertain as the game dragged towards a conclusion. However, in the final few minutes, Celtic's superior fitness suddenly allowed a little space and time, and it was all Celtic again. Turley won and took a free kick as McNulty couldn't catch him and brought him down just outside the box. The free kick, though, was awful. Celtic didn't stop and Ellington forced Brazier into conceding a corner with one minute left on the clock.

Steve Smith (on for Prince), won the corner back as Vauxhall tried to get it clear, and Turley got another corner. Once again there was panic in the visiting defence as the ball came in, and this time, it went for a throw. The throw from Wharton found Ellington who flicked it to the near post, Sykes was coming in, he threw himself at the ball, and in the dying moments of the game, Celtic had the lead. It wasn't even a case of holding onto the lead, as Vauxhall had no teeth in stoppage time.

It was a poor second half performance from both teams, but in the end, Celtic had just enough to nick the win.

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